Travel restrictions due to the pandemic seem to have impacted Trujet’s operations. Lessors of the low-cost carrier have grounded five out of seven aircraft over unpaid dues, according to sources.
Trujet has aircraft of the ATR family in its fleet. Two aircraft belong to DAE, a Dubai-based aircraft leasing company, while the other three are owned by Elix, a Dublin-based aircraft leasing company.
A source privy to the information told BusinessLine that after multiple notices were issued to Trujet for pending payments, the two lessors grounded five aircraft from July 12.
“Trujet tried negotiating the lease agreements with the lessors seeking more time for making payments. However, a lease agreement, unlike a vendor agreement, is watertight in most cases. It is practically impossible to delay payments,” the source said.
Trujet did not respond to queries sent by BusinessLine . But one of its consultants claimed that the aircraft were grounded for maintenance purposes.
A spokesperson at Elix refused to comment on Trujet specifically, but said that as an aircraft lessor, the company “is working with all our customers in India and globally to find solutions that are adapted to the current difficult circumstances faced by airlines and leasing companies alike. As you can imagine, with the Covid-19 crisis many airlines are experiencing a significant decrease in revenues.”
A spokesperson for DAE said, “we do not comment on our relationships with our customers.”
Trujet was established in July 2015 by Turbo Megha Airways. The carrier operates a route network primarily focussing on the country's central Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions, with destinations including Tirupati, Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Vijayawada and Rajahmundry.
According to industry data, the two operational aircraft have been flying normally between Bengaluru, Bidar, Hyderabad and Vijaywada, to schedule. Recently, the airline stopped flying between Nashik and Ahmedabad. Airline officials had told media then that the routes on this flight would resume on July 16. Of the other five grounded aircraft, three haven’t operated for over a week, according to information available on real-time commercial aircraft flight tracking site Flight Radar.
According to the latest Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s air traffic data for May, the passenger load factor (PLF) on the flights that Trujet operated was 24.3 per cent. Other carriers had a PLF 10-20 per cent higher than Trujet.
Trujet carried 20,000 passengers in May compared to 70,000 passengers in March and its market share dropped from 0.7 per cent in March to 0.6 per cent in May. Due to the nationwide lockdown, air travel was banned from the last week of March to the third week of May.